There was no lump -- a Breast Cancer blog

This blog is about my experience with Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
You can learn more about Inflammatory Breast Cancer at or

The names of my Doctors have been changed.



Contact me at Liane58 at gmail dot com
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Location: United States

Monday, October 04, 2004

I am a connoisseur of bland

Cancer changes things. That's obvious, but the list is long. There I was, contemplating the nuances of different types of tapioca pudding. MMMmm, pudding. Meanwhile, the entire dried bean category – which used to be such a favorite -- is right out, just because it doesn't sit well along with the lump I feel in my stomach so much of the time. But I'm happy that in general I can eat normally.

“I'm having a mastectomy.”
I've gotten to the point were I can often say this with a goofy grin -- it's sad, it even seems a little absurd, but it's true. There are just so many unknowns, so much trial and error, so much guesswork.
It could be that the chemotherapy has killed all the cancer. But there is no way of being certain, and we want to make sure that, if possible, no cancer is left.
I am feeling better now that I have more understanding; it helped to see a picture of my cancer, in my MRI, and to read some of the reports in my file. In my files my cancer is described as a "spiculated mass" -- it has long tendrils that go out from the center; like a starfish? An octopus? But not a lump, not a centralized tumor.
Other changes -- my eyebrows are down to a few hairs -- the few, the brave, the proud. The lack of nose hairs means when I cry my nose seems to drip tears just like my eyes. Someone observed they had never seen me with painted fingernails before. Yes, I got tired of looking down and seeing my bruised-looking thumbnails. And some of my fingernails have stripes of bruises, one from each chemo treatment. So I've been painting my nails.
I tell myself, loosing a breast is not like loosing a hand, or foot or eye. It's not like its something I use all the time. Also, it's not like losing a kidney or needing a heart transplant -- it's not like my breasts help me survive.
Still it's a part of me I see every day, and part of me as a whole person, physically. I just have to say “goodbye.” I've been thinking a lot about the reconstruction question. I think I'm not inclined to go that route. I am what I am, I’ve never wanted to have anything artificial. If one in eight women experience breast cancer, why should we feel any embarrassment at going around with one breast?